Oskar Schindler was a German businessman who made an impact on the lives of hundreds and thousands of Jews during World War II when he became an unlikely hero for saving 1,200 of them from being poisoned in the gas chambers. His story was not known to the world and to most of the Holocaust survivors, not until the ‘80s. Here are some facts about the life of the Oskar Schindler.
1. His Personal Life And Background.
He was born on April 28, 1908 in one of the German provinces, Austro-Hungarian Empire and which is now part of the Czech Republic. He worked in sales for his father in the 1920s and was married to a woman named Emilie. However, he left his father’s company when they had a misunderstanding over his wife and he worked for an electric company. Before he became a hero, it was reported that he was a heavy drinker.
2. His Affiliations With The Jews.
Even if he was German, as a child, he had playmates who were sons of a rabbi. When he opened his own business in 1940, he employed a Jewish accountant named Itzhak Stern, who helped him communicate with the Jews at that time.
3. The Story About How He Saved The Jews.
At first, his intention was only to hire the Jews in exchange for cheap labor. During this time, the Nazis were already taking the Jews and deporting those who were not able to work. This was in the 1940s. What first started as a money-making business turned into a heroic act when he started saving the Jews from getting executed using his own money and bribing officials. It was said this was triggered when he witness the torturing and murdering of Jews at the concentration camp at Plaszow. He risked his life and spent millions of his own money until his bankruptcy in 1958.
4. The Schindler’s List.
There is more to these two words than just being a movie title that have stirred the hearts of millions when it was shown. The title of the movie was really a list made by Oskar Schindler. It was the list of the Jews he would save from Holocaust. One was a little boy, Leon Leyson whom he included in his final list. They met again after 60 years. There were other stories on how he intervened for the Jews in camps like when he pretended to be angry at a boy whom the German soldier found sitting while at work. This saved the boy from being shot.
5. Poldek Pfefferberg and Oskar Schindler
Among the people who were saved from the Nazis were Poldek Pfefferberg and his wife. He was a physical education instructor before the war and worked for Schindler in buying products from the black market. When they met in Munich after Liberation, he made a vow that he will let the world know about Schindler. And he kept his promise.
Oskar Schindler passed away on October 9, 1974 in Frankfurt, Germany. From what he did for the Jews, he never got anything in return, except for a golden ring given to him by the Jewish workers he helped. The gold came from a dental bridge from one of the prisoners.